After less than a year of barcoding the bees of Bavaria, more than half of the species have been barcoded. In Bavaria, 505 species of bees (Apidae) have been recorded, comprising over 90% of the German bee fauna. Until now, 1615 specimens have been submitted to Guelph as part of iBOL, the international Barcode of Life project, many of them still waiting to be processed.
As part of the Barcoding Fauna Bavarica project, the first hundred sawflies species have unveiled their barcodes. On Bavarian territory, 641 species of Symphyta (sawflies and woodwasps) have been recorded. Symphyta are phylogenetically basal to other Hymenoptera, like bees and wasps, with larvae of virtually all species having a caterpillar-like appearance and feeding on plants. As a standard procedure, voucher specimens were photographed and are deposited in the Zoologische Staatssammlung in Munich, Germany.
The first Bavarian bees (and a few allies) are on their way to the Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding.
The campaign “Barcoding Fauna Bavarica” that was launched only a few weeks ago is now up and running. Last week the first two microplates with samples of bees and aquatic insects from Bavaria were sent off to Guelph.
Friday, 13 – a good day for Bavarian bees. The first set of bees taken from the Hymenoptera collection of the ZSM are ready to be processed for DNA barcoding. One midleg will be removed from each of the 23 specimens representing 20 species of bees.
Bavaria is a diversity hotspot for bees in Germany – 502 bee species have been recorded, representing c. 90% of the German bee fauna.
The ZSM holds one of the largest collections of Hymenoptera in the world. The Hymenoptera is a diverse groups of insects and includes the bees, wasps, and ants, but also the parasitic wasps that play an important role in nature because keep pest insect populations at a low level.
In the ZSM about two million Hymenoptera specimens are stored in a little more than 10,000 insect drawers. Standard size drawers are 41 x 52 cm wooden boxes with glass lid and a tight key and slot joint. Drawers are arranged in wooden cabinets that allow easy access to all parts of the collection.
About 10,000 drawers are arranged in wooden cabinets.
The collection hall is underground and has no windows, keeping the risk of pest intrusions at a minimum. The floor space of the hall is about 200 m², an area smaller than a tennis court (261 m²). Climatic conditions (20°C, 45% rel. humity) are controlled and monitored using dataloggers, providing optimal conditions for the long-term storage of insect specimens. The insects were collected over a time period of more than two centuries, but even the oldest specimens, collected in the 18th century, are often in perfect condition.
The images shows a male of the South American pergid sawfly Skelosyzygonia spinipes Malaise. The species is known only from the male. Note the large, spiniform, raptorial hind legs that are unique among sawflies. Males of Aulacomerus buquetii Spinola have also large, raptorial-like hindlegs, but they are not as large and they lack the spines. The hind legs of the female of A. buquetii are normal like in most other sawflies.
So far only a few specimens of Skelosyzygonia spinipes are present in entomological collections, all of them from locations in Brazil. The specimen depicted in the image is housed in the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
Contact: Hymenoptera.ZSM (at) gmail.com
In 1939 J. Hubrich purchased a collection of ants from South America that is now deposited in the ZSM. The ants in the drawer depicted in the images were collected about a century ago in Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina. Only a few specimens of this particular collection have been identified to species level.